Feehery: How Trump can better handle COVID-19 and win reelection

Feehery: How Trump can better handle COVID-19 and win reelection
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President Trump is going to lose his reelection bid if he doesn’t handle the COVID-19 crisis better.

Here are five things he can do to regain control of a bad situation.

Hire an expert who agrees with him: Anthony FauciAnthony FauciNIH official 'to retire' after RedState criticism of Fauci surfaces The Hill's 12:30 Report: War over the Supreme Court North Carolina couple married 50 years dies minutes apart of coronavirus holding hands MORE and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield are not on the same page as President TrumpDonald John TrumpBubba Wallace to be driver of Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin NASCAR team Graham: GOP will confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election Southwest Airlines, unions call for six-month extension of government aid MORE. Fauci is a media star and a long-time expert in the federal bureaucracy who has been around Washington, D.C., forever. Redfield is not as smooth with the media, but he has been very adept at finding ways to channel more resources and a bigger headcount at the agency his controls. 

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Neither Fauci nor Redfield are infallible and both have made significant mistakes over the course of this crisis. The CDC has been a particular mess. I don’t think it would be wise for Trump to fire them. Instead, he should hire somebody who actually agrees with him. There are plenty out there, from Dr. Scott Atlas to John P. A. Ioannidis to many, many others who have correctly understood that fearmongering and closing down the economy and the schools has been counterproductive.

Get a better handle on the actual data: I am glad that Health and Human Services has finally taken steps to take the job of collecting all the COVID-19 statistics from the CDC. Here is what the American people really need to know. How lethal is this virus? How many people have died from COVID-19 vs. how many people have died with the virus? How many people are in hospitals because of COVID-19 vs. how many people are in hospitals who are there for other reasons, but might have coronavirus too? How many people who have tested positive have mild or no symptoms vs. how many have significant medical issues? Who should actually really be worried about getting COVID-19 and who, statistically speaking, has little to worry about?

Get a better handle on testing: America’s testing regime is a mess. It’s the Wild West out there and it’s helping to drive the narrative that we are all doomed. There are so many different testing regimes, so many different criteria about who is supposed to get a test and who is not, and so many different kinds of tests, some that test for antibodies and some that give all kinds of false positives and false negatives. Some labs in Florida, for example, have been exposed for saying that just about everybody they have tested has the coronavirus. The case counts drive the media narrative but there is ample evidence that those case counts are wildly inaccurate.

Help the people who need help: We know now who dies disproportionally from COVID-19: the elderly, Hispanics, especially those who work near or in meatpacking plants, and African Americans, especially those with significant comorbidities. The president should dedicate resources to help protect these folks, from better education directly aimed at these communities to direct financial support of hospitals, nursing homes and medical clinics that serve them.

Get consistent on masks: The political class and the armchair experts who support them have seized on the wearing of masks as the new religion that will deliver us from the evils of the COVID-19. The evidence cited by the CDC on this proposition is scant at best, based mostly on the experiences of two hairdressers who wore masks and didn’t infect their customers. Goldman Sachs did an economic study that said if everybody wore a mask, the gross domestic product would magically go up, driving the media narrative that masks are our salvation. But most actual scientific studies show that wearing a mask has little to no actual benefit and in some people, could be very counterproductive. I am not sure if it is worth the time for the president to try win this fight, though, no matter how much the facts are on his side. He should be consistent at least. You don’t need to wear a mask outside, unless you are trying to topple a statue of some 18th century white dude. How’s that as a starting point?

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at www.thefeeherytheory.com. He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: A surprising Republican wave election could be looming Feehery: How Trump wins Feehery: The working-class party MORE (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).